After losing pole position due to an infraction during qualifying, Will Power rebounded in the best possible way and took the honours in the second of the weekends races at Belle Isle on Sunday.
Power was forced to start down in eighth after seeing his fastest two lap times from qualifying deleted after getting in the way of Marco Andretti in qualifying, but the Team Penske driver drove a strong race and made a pass on team-mate Simon Pagenaud on the restart after a late caution flag to take his first Verizon IndyCar Series victory of 2016.
Pagenaud had led the early stages of the race quite comfortably, and was on course for his fourth win of the season before Power’s late pass, but the Frenchman was a comfortable second to move further ahead in the championship standings and to make it a Penske 1-2 in the teams home city and the home of their engine suppliers Chevrolet.
Ryan Hunter-Reay denied Chevrolet a clean sweep of the podium places, as he took his Honda-powered Andretti Autosport machine to third place, with the Ed Carpenter Racing entry of Josef Newgarden finishing on his tail in fourth.
Scott Dixon survived a mid-race clash with Juan Pablo Montoya to claim fifth, with both drivers heading to pit lane for repairs after the Penske driver hit the back of Dixon’s Chip Ganassi Racing machine as the two battle for position.
Ultimately it would be another disappointing day for Montoya, who after making his final pit stop slid into the wall and broke his suspension, ending his day and causing a caution period that affected a number of driver’s races.
But it was a caution period to retrieve a stranded Jack Hawksworth that caused the biggest mix up in the order, as it happened amid the pit stop cycle. Pagenaud and Power had just made their stops but erstwhile leader Helio Castroneves, who had just passed Pagenaud to assume the lead, was unable to do the same, and as a result dropped out of contention for the victory.
While Castroneves pitted once the pits opened while the safety car was on track, four drivers who also had not pitted stayed out on track, with race one winner Sebastien Bourdais, Charlie Kimball, Graham Rahal and Alexander Rossi trying to build as big a gap as possible to ensure a best possible result, knowing their chances of a victory had gone.
Conor Daly secured his second top-six finish of the weekend for Dale Coyne Racing ahead of Tony Kanaan of Chip Ganassi Racing, with Bourdais the best of those who pitted late in eighth for KVSH Racing.
Marco Andretti and Takuma Sato completed the top ten despite being involved in a first lap, first corner incident that saw James Hinchcliffe and Max Chilton both eliminated against the outside wall. Hinchcliffe found himself pinched against the wall after Kimball pushed Carlos Munoz into the Canadian’s car, while Chilton had nowhere to go behind them.
Sato was tipped into a spin, with Andretti running over his front wing. Gabby Chaves was also forced into the pit lane with damage to his rear wing on his Dale Coyne Racing entry, ultimately finishing thirteenth, just ahead of the disappointed and heavily compromised Castroneves.
Belle Isle Race 2 Result
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